While surfing the web, you may have come across either an “HTTPS” or “HTTP” prefix at the beginning of a url.
Now, the million-dollar question is, what does HTTPS stand for, what does it do, and how is it different from HTTP? Read on to find out all about website HTTPS and why you need it on your site.
HTTPS: What Does it Mean?
The term HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, while its counterpart, HTTP, is Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Both concepts generally relate to the protocol that transmits information such as payment card details, personal information, and login IDs from a user’s browser to the website. However, the primary difference between both is that HTTPS offers website security using SSL certificate encryption.
Sites that adopt HTTPS are secure websites, and they encrypt sensitive data gotten from users. Only the sender and the website can see any information passed over networks. This way, it is less likely for cybercriminals to intercept or steal user information for malicious purposes. With HTTPS, both sender and receiver of sensitive data can ensure that information is not altered and that a real user passed it.
The Importance of HTTPS to Your Website
HTTPS can best be described as the digital version of gate security. Little wonder the symbol of HTTPS security is a padlock symbol close to the URL. And just like every form of security, HTTPS is quite integral to the overall health, safety, and success of a website. Below are some of the most important benefits you stand to gain when your website adopts HTTPS.
Search Engine Optimization
Improving your website’s ranking and being at the top of search engines is the goal of any site administrator. One way to achieve search engine optimization is to have adequate website security. That’s because Google and other search engines have adopted the quality of website protection as a factor for ranking websites.
Originally, having a website HTTPS was added as a ranking factor as early as 2014. But more recently, HTTPS has been seen as the ultimate tie-breaker for websites. So, where there are two identical websites, the one with HTTPS will rank higher. While the role of HTTPS in a website’s ranking cannot be compared to other primary factors like keywords, it is nonetheless an added advantage every site owner should consider.
Website User Trust and Security
There are millions of fake websites on the internet. And due to scams and information theft perpetuated by these websites, customers are very careful before putting their sensitive information on websites. When your website is HTTPS secured, it signals to customers that their data is safe, and they can trust the content of the website or the identity of its administrators.
Protection of Sensitive Data
Many website owners use their website to collect sensitive information, enabling them to provide goods and services. This information may range from credit card details to addresses. At other times, you may need to log in to websites with usernames and passwords. HTTPS protects those sensitive data from malicious cyber users or unauthorized third-party access.
Faster Browsing Experience
HTTPS has a positive influence on browsing speed. Firstly, many modern browsers are optimized to recognize less secure websites. And when they do, they slow down connection speed and issue warnings for users to confirm if they want to proceed to the website. This process may make users leave your website, further increasing your bounce rate.
However, with HTTPS-enabled websites, browsers load faster and offer users a valuable experience. HTTPS ensures data integrity and encrypts it, relying on Transfer Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates. These security certificates are known for multiplexing data which improves a website’s load speed.
Lead Generation and Conversion
Many website owners use their website for lead generation and conversion. In essence, these websites are created to draw customers’ attention and influence them to purchase goods and services. You shouldn’t underestimate the role of HTTPS in achieving this goal. That’s because HTTPS ensures that your content is secure and the chain-link of content is trustworthy. Customers are more likely to visit and make private purchases on your website when secure with HTTPS.
How to Boost Your Website’s Security with HTTPS
Knowing how immensely crucial HTTPS is to your website is good, but nothing beats understanding the steps for a comprehensive HTTPS configuration for website security. Here are five tips that will help boost your website with HTTPS.
- Build an HTTPS-enabled website: The first step to configuring HTTPS to your website is choosing a website builder that offers HTTPS.
- Add an SSL certificate to your HTTPS website: An SSL certificate transmits information from the website to your database. While HTTPS ensures data security from the user to your website, SSL certificates ensure that the data remains unaltered or inaccessible to a third party until it reaches your database.
- Build a firewall: A firewall reads information and traffic coming into your website. This way, it detects malicious intruders and blocks their access to your website. A good example of a firewall network is the Cloudflare HTTPS configuration which offers comprehensive protection to your website.
- Use a secure web host for your website domain. A web host offers additional security that improves the effectiveness of your HTTPS.
- Backup your website: Ensure you have a backup solution for your website’s security information. This way, you’ll be able to access your website security in case of any incident.
- Understand the webserver configuration that your website uses: A web server configuration is a platform that offers instructions to your website on how to administer HTTPS protection. Several web server files allow for HTTPS configuration. For instance, the Apache configuration web servers use .htacess files for website security, while NGINX web servers use nginx.conf files.
- Improve web security: You can tighten your network security by taking several steps. For instance, you can make website logins expire after some minutes of inactivity. You can also scan all connected devices for malware or viruses.
How to Get HTTPS On Your WordPress Site
When using WordPress, the best way to get your HTTPS certificate is to use Let’s Encrypt. The non-profit organization has offered over one billion certificates as of Feb 2020.
Follow these step-by-step instructions and start using HTTPS today.
HTTPS offers you quality website protection that can be crucial for customer trust and retention. Plus, you can enjoy several other benefits from using the website HTTPS, including SEO and speedy website load. Whether you’re building a website from scratch or you’re maintaining an existing one, be sure to encrypt data on your website using HTTPS today.